Nonono, Nick,’ Gilpin interrupted. He pulled a chair up to the table and sat on it backward. I wondered if cops actually did that. Or did some clever actor do that, and then cops began doing it because they’d seen the actors playing cops do that and it looked cool?

That’s the way plants down here work: The Mexicans get the shittiest, most dangerous jobs, and the whites still complain.

My eyes flipped open at exactly six A.M. This was no avian fluttering of the lashes, no gentle blink toward consciousness. The awakening was mechanical. A spooky ventriloquist-dummy click of the lids: The world is black and then, showtime! 6-0-0 the clock said -in my face, first thing I saw. 6-0-0. It felt different. I rarely woke at such a rounded time. I was a man of jagged risings: 8:43, 11:51, 9:26. My life was alarmless.

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